Archive for the ‘guest bloggers’ Category
Check out this guest post by Melissa Muldoon to learn more about Dreaming Sophia and how you can win a copy of this daydreamy debut novel.Read on...
Diana Strinati Baur has learned the ins and outs of resilience and change the hard way so you don’t have to — she’ll teach you in her new course, Resilience: Mastering the Art of Moving On.Read on...
This post by my carissima amica Diana Strinati Baur was originally published as the second half of her post about breaking up with her guru. But it needed a home all to itself.Read on...
Today we’re welcoming Brian Jenkins with a guest post about a subject I know many of you are interested in — Italian cooking. Of course you can always check out my recipes, but if you’ve always wanted to perfect your Italian culinary skills but don’t have a nonna to turn to, this post is for you.
Should You Take an Italian Cooking Class?
Are you wondering how to prepare authentic, tasty Italian dishes? Do you have a desire to do more when you make Italian food? Perhaps you have spent a long time yearning to make delicious Rollatini di Pollo served with a properly chilled bottle of Chardonnay.
There are plenty of restaurants and culinary schools offering Italian cooking courses. And no, you don’t have to be a little bit Italian to take the courses! You can have fun, improve your Italian cooking skills and enjoy some scrumptious food. Buon appetito!
Impress friends and family members by making a delicious Italian meal. No longer will your guests’ “that was delicious pasta” comment be dripping with insincerity! Well, let’s hope not.
A Google search such as “cooking courses Boston” (replace Boston with your city of residence) may just provide a few nearby restaurants that offer Italian one-day or longer cooking classes. Some of the classes teach students to make a five-course meal. Typically, students are part of a cooking team. Classes usually take two to three hours after which it’s time to enjoy a tasty Italian meal.
- The Italian Culinary Academy, located in New York City, offers amateur and professional programs through a variety of part-time amateur night classes. The courses include two or three sessions. Attend a high quality Italian culinary school during a New York City vacation. Sell your collection of antique ascots and dine at Babbo Ristorante.
- Cooking Vacations offers hands-on cooking classes and cultural tours in Italy’s 20 regions. Students are taught to prepare traditional Italian recipes by skilled chefs, local expert cooks, bread and pizza makers and Nonnas. The culinary holiday includes visits to markets and tours of vineyards and cultural landmarks.
- The International Kitchen offers a variety of Italian cooking vacations. The programs combine sightseeing and cooking classes taught by expert chefs. How about making scrumptious dishes from Umbrian recipes? Your friends will be inquisitive and hopefully impressed.
If you are one of those people who have a casual interest in cooking, taking a cooking class at a local restaurant may well be the best option. Here are some restaurants that offer cooking classes for a small sampling of cities across the US:
- Taranta (Boston, MA)
- Chef Andy (Orlando, FL)
- A Tavola (Chicago, IL)
- A Taste of Italy in Austin (Austin, TX)
- Andy Food (Scottsdale, AZ)
- Tante Marie’s Cooking School (San Francisco, CA)
- Rustico Cooking (New York City, NY)
Invest a little time and reap the rewards for the rest of your culinary life!
Brian Jenkins writes on Cooking Schools and other topics for Braintrack.com.
Have you ever taken a cooking class? Would you recommend it to others?
For all you Italy, wine, and book lovers out there, I’m pleased to present an excerpt from Matthew Gavin Frank‘s new book BAROLO, a memoir about Frank’s illegal work in the Piemontese Italian food and wine industry.
The following piece originally appears, in slightly different form, in the food-and-wine memoir, BAROLO (The University of Nebraska Press, 2010), by Matthew Gavin Frank.
Coming to Temperature
I run my hand over my hair, spitting rain as cracked carbonation, and make for the indoors. The indoors takes the form of Alba, Italy’s Caffé Calissano, its cream awnings and shrub-lined exterior nearly kissing the orange stones of the Duomo.
Soon, I am drying off at a mother-of-pearl cafe table, my snifter of rosolio reflecting its oval pinkness in the white-tiled ceiling, as if assuring itself of its own existence before I pour it down my throat. This liqueur, which I’ve found only in Italy’s Piedmont, wears its rose-oil roots proudly in both smell and taste.
I sip and, petal-tongued, watch two raindrops race down Calissano’s window. I bet on the one on the right. It has a fatter bottom. It wins. Behind the window-rain, a helmetless boy passes on a rickety moped, disappears around the Duomo’s hip. Then, an elderly woman in a red plastic kerchief limps past grasping an armful of rolled bathmats to her chest.
If Alba is a body, I can’t tell if I’m the artificial heart or a virus. It exists around me, with me, despite me. It includes a young waitress, twentysomething, curly brown hair, green butterfly barrettes, who sets a small white plate of meat and mushrooms in front of me. She has a full face and short fingers. I didn’t order this.
“You are American, yes?” she says in a voice steeped as if in rosolio.
“I wear it like an overcoat, huh?”
“Aah,” she says, dismissing my ridiculousness, this is salami with the, uh, truffle, and the porcini in the, uh, vinegar.”
“Truffled salami?” I say on an inhale, my words sputtering as if spoken through a floor fan on high.
“Yes, this here,” she says, the face of her left pointer hovering dove-wise over the plate.
“And these…” I say, sniffing the dome smell of delicacy eight inches above the table, “Pickled porcinis?”
“Yes. Uh, you can not have a drink and, uh, not have something to eat. This is a rule.”
“Really? Just here, or in all of Italy?”
“Well, these are the best bar snacks I’ve ever seen,” I say, “This is a good law.”
She laughs, I think, because she feels she should.
“Mille grazie,” I say.
“Prego,” she says and returns to the masses.
Northern Italy is a region of wine and chandeliers and I sit as if in a crib, beneath yet another dangling mobile of crystal, shedding a gauzy orange light. I imagine that Piemontese writers Beppe Fenoglio and Cesare Pavese often sat beneath Calissano’s chandeliers with other local artists, eating, drinking, forging World War II’s partisan movement before playing bocce ball in the piazza.
Now, the Cinzano mirrors reflect the mostly businesses-suited patrons and waitstaff, clad in tuxedo shirts, loose bowties, black pants and black aprons.
The bar, stretching the length of the north wall, is patrolled by a young blond man, forever pacing its expanse, playing guard to the thousands of light-spitting bottles, filled with elixirs of red, white, clear, green, rose, yellow. The ceiling’s thick white tile is carved with oak leaves and wine grapes, fish flanks, and the occasional seraph. Calissano indeed seems a museum-turned-cafe and the staff roves among its tables so cleanly as if curators, no, sculptures come to life. Their hands and feet trace the nooks and bottles of their region.
I know, mouth now greased with truffle salami, cheeks now aglow with a post-porcini sting, that this is going to be my place in Alba. For the first time since arriving in Italy nearly a month ago, I’m infected with a sense of home. Uncommonly warm, I raise my snifter to an especially chubby ceiling angel, swear I see it wink, and swallow the thick last. At the bar, the young blond man rolls a raw porcini mushroom to the center of a wooden cutting board and hacks it in half with a meat cleaver. Even split, its stem is as thick as an arm.
Interested in more? Check out BAROLO for yourself!